HC Deb 19 February 1924 vol 169 cc1567-9W

asked the Postmaster-General what progress has been made in the installation of rural telephones throughout the country since the 1st May last?


From the 1st May to the 31st December last 264 rural, exchanges with 3,365 subscribers were opened. During the same period 496 call offices were added to the system in rural areas, and 1,038 additional rural party line stations were installed. There was a total increase of 6,902 in the number of subscribers to rural exchanges between the 30th June and 31st December last.


asked the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been drawn to numerous complaints and failures arising from the Barnsley telephonic communication, No. 79; is he aware that, on 7th February at 11 o'clock a.m., transmission communication was completely cut off, and that an attempt to pass messages by Messrs. Taylor and Sons, manufacturers, by other routes met with organised obstruction; and will he have inquiries undertaken and remedy any found existing failure?


Several telephone circuits, including Barnsley 79 rented by Messrs. Taylor and Sons, were subject to intermittent faults between the 7th and 13th February. The trouble was clue to reconstruction operations on the local underground cables and distributing poles. In carrying out such work, every endeavour is made to prevent disturbance of subscribers' circuits, but this is sometimes unavoidable. The engineering operations have now been completed. It would be impracticable to allow the free use of call offices to subscribers whose telephones are temporarily out of order, and this I understand is what the firm in question claimed.


asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that a large number of sub-postmasters in charge of provincial town post offices are compelled to maintain by personal attendance a night telephone service in addition to a full eight hours.' scheduled duty; whether the alternative to this arrangement is the surrender of official premises for living accommodation; and whether, in view of the discontent among these officers whose health and efficiency are affected by this scheme and of the shortage of new houses, he is prepared to relieve the officers concerned of this responsibility and to place the system of night telephone service on a sound and efficient basis?


One of the objects of providing official residences in Post Offices is that the necessary attendance may be given to telephone calls at night. It is open to any sub-postmaster to seek permission to vacate the official residence if he finds the duties attaching to its occupation unduly onerous, and such permission is not unreasonably withheld; but I should not feel justified in incurring the expense of making special provision for the telephone work while the sub-postmaster occupies the residence. Arrangements of this kind are duly made when the calls through the night are not numerous.